Wildlife News

Big tigers and wild browns

Forsyth and Mill Meadow offer unique fishing adventures

Richfield — Fish Lake is one of southern Utah's premier fishing spots. But two smaller waters near Fish Lake offer something even this premier water can't offer—big tiger trout and a population of wild brown trout.

Black bear
These tiger trout were collected at Forsyth Reservoir during gillnet sampling on May 4, 2010.

Photo by Mike Hadley

Both Forsyth and Mill Meadow reservoirs are east of Richfield.

Forsyth Reservoir

Two sterile hybrid trout—tiger trout and splake—are stocked in Forsyth Reservoir. The reservoir is an excellent trout producer, and both the tiger trout and splake have done well.

Division of Wildlife Resources biologists found some fat tigers and splake during gillnet surveys this spring. Some of the trout weighed more than three pounds. And right now is the perfect time to catch them. The reservoir is full and the water has cleared up. Fishing conditions are ideal.

Tiger trout and splake are aggressive fish. And they're not averse to looking for something bigger than invertebrates to eat. With that in mind, try fishing with dead minnows or tipping your lure or jig with a piece of cut bait. If you're trolling, try something that has some vibration or "noise" to it. And if you're fly fishing, use something that's big, dark and sinks, such as a bugger, zonker or leech.

All of these techniques should result in a big tiger or splake trout tugging on the end of your line.

Forsyth offers a boat ramp and primitive camping.

Mill Meadow Reservoir

Mill Meadow Reservoir is fed by the Fremont River. And just like at Forsyth, Mill Meadow can be affected during low water years. But it can also produce excellent fishing during good water years—like the year southern Utah is having this year!

Wild brown trout dominate the trout fishery in Mill Meadow. The trout move into the reservoir from the Fremont River and UM Creek. Finding a large population of wild browns in a reservoir is rare treat for anglers. And these browns can get big—don't be surprised if you catch a brown trout that weighs five pounds or more.

You can catch these wild browns using all kinds of tackle and techniques, including trolling; casting flashy lures and crankbaits; fly fishing with streamers; and still fishing with natural baits, such as night crawlers and dead minnows.

Yellow perch are another draw at Mill Meadow. You can catch perch from the shore by suspending a jig below a bobber. Or you can vertically jig for the perch from a boat. In both cases, tip your jig with a piece of night crawler or perch meat.

The perch limit at Mill Meadow is 50 perch. Please consider keeping the perch you catch, up to your limit. Perch taste great. And keeping the perch you catch will help keep them in balance with their food supply and reduce the chance the perch overpopulate the reservoir.

Lodging and camping is available at Fish Lake. Other facilities are available in the nearby towns of Loa and Bicknell.

Getting there

Both Forsyth and Mill Meadow are about 45 miles east of Richfield. You can reach them by traveling southeast of Richfield on state Route 24, and then turning north at Loa on state Route 72.

To reach Forsyth, keep going north on state Route 72—the road will take you to the reservoir.

To reach Mill Meadow, turn west on the Forest Service road that's about one mile north of Fremont. Mill Meadow is about three miles up the road.

Water levels at the two reservoirs

The water level at Mill Meadow can drop when water is released during the irrigation season, but it can then rise again in mid-summer when water is released from Fish Lake, Johnson Reservoir and Forsyth Reservoir, all of which are upstream from Mill Meadow.

Fishing at Mill Meadow and Forsyth in the summer is a lot like playing musical chairs: if the water level is low at one of the reservoirs, check out the other one—the water level at it might be better.

Right now, water levels are good at both.

Keep it clean

One final word: please help in the fight against aquatic invasive species. Whirling disease is present in the Fremont River drainage, and New Zealand mud snails are also in the area.

Please do not transport any parts of fish caught here to other waters. And make sure you clean, drain and dry your boat and any recreational equipment that comes in contact with the water.

You can see this clean, drain and dry process at wildlife.utah.gov/mussels/decontaminate.php.

Learning more

More information about fishing at Forsyth and Mill Meadow is available in the DWR's weekly Southern Region fishing report (wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/reports.php) and by calling the DWR's Southern Region office at 435-865-6100.

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